Berkeley Writer Ayelet Waldman's Red Hook Road Inspired By Bach, Steve Reich

New York Times best-selling author and Berkeley resident Ayelet Waldman released a new book today called Red Hook Road. She and her husband, Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, have been called “a famous–and famously in love–writing pair.”

Music is central to Red Hook Road. After a newlywed couple dies in a freak car accident on the way from the ceremony to the reception, the starkly different Tetherly and Copaken families grieve and heal together over four summers in the fictional town of Red Hook, Maine. The families find some relief in the surprise discovery that, like the grandfather in the Tetherly family, the Copakens' young, adopted niece is a gifted violinist.

I interviewed Waldman via e-mail to find out what music inspired her while writing this book. She wrote:

I listened to Bach — the Fugues mostly. Also Steve Reich, who is my go-to guy when I'm writing. I like to listen to minimalist classical music when I write, because it has this propulsive quality that keeps me focused. I also play lots of Keith Jarrett, although sometimes the grunting and moaning gets to me.

Classical music plays a huge part in the novel. Bach's Chaconne is the soundtrack for a number of the most important scenes. Paganini's Caprices play a part, too, as does some of Schubert's Trout Quintet.

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